China is a fascinating place to visit. While we’re always hearing about the country’s booming cities, there are still plenty of traditional rural villages like the one shown in this video.
The traveler, who sounds Canadian, takes us on a tour through a thousand-year-old village. One stop is the Longevity and Health Well, which enjoys enough local fame to have the restaurant next to it sport its image on its sign.
I like the little details in this video, like the Chinese city kid struggling to draw water from the well, the straw brooms leaning against the wall, the meat hanging outside the restaurant and the traveler wondering if the birds in the birdcage are food. It’s worth watching more than once to catch things you didn’t notice the first time. The amateur filmmaker really captures the novelty, fun and confusion of travel, and gives us a glimpse of a quiet life in China away from the smog-covered factories and noisy cities.
The Belgian city of Bruges is famous for its stunning medieval architecture – it’s a fact made all the more apparent by today’s photo, taken by Flickr user clee130. Taken at sunset, the city’s gothic cathedral spires (that’s the Church of Our Lady on the left, and St. Salvator’s Cathedral on the right) and angular roofs are bathed by the warm glow of an ethereal, golden light.
Taken any great photos during your travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.
If you prefer cute and cuddly animals to the Big Five on safari, you may want to consider a trip to the Netherlands. VICE’s Cute Show takes a look this week at a guinea pig village in Holland, where the hairy rodents go to “retire” when their owners can no longer look after them. You can adopt a guinea pig or just visit them (I’m partial to the scrappy and long-haired Droopy).
The guinea pig village is located in Bakkeveen, about 2 hours northeast of Amsterdam. It’s open Wednesdays and Saturdays to the public, more info available here. Guinea pigs not your thing? Watch the Cute Show visit baby sloths in Costa Rica.
Most of our favorite travel memories are from summer: school’s out and the days are long, you can hit the beach, sit in a park, or people-watch at a sidewalk cafe. Spring and fall are great shoulder seasons for lower prices and fewer crowds, but winter tends to be underappreciated for travel. Outside of visiting family for holidays, winter travelers generally head to the ski slopes or Caribbean islands to escape the cold. But winter can be a lovely time to travel, whether you are enjoying the museums and bathhouses of Moscow or taking a country walk through the snow in an English village. Today’s Photo of the Day by Flickr user Kumukulanui is from St. Ann’s Well and Cafe above the spa town of Great Malvern, England. The snow outside makes it even more picturesque, inviting you to get cozy inside with a hot cup of tea and savor the long nights of winter.
I just returned from a week in the small island country of Malta. For our first trip with our nearly two-month old baby, we decided to rent a house outside the village of Xaghra on Malta’s smaller island Gozo. Picking us up from the ferry, our landlady explained how the town was gearing up for the national Victory Day holiday on September 8th as well as the village patron saint’s feast celebration, and each night there would be smaller festivities building up to the main event. Every night we’d walk to the square, choose among the handful of restaurants to eat (with a population of 4,200, it’s among the more cosmopolitan of Gozitan villages), and watch the square fill with people chatting, eating, and playing bingo, as it turned out. We saw girls in outfits that would be considered skimpy in a Miami nightclub flirt on the church steps with boys wearing shirts with religious icons. On our last night on Gozo, the square was more packed than usual and soon we discovered why: a parade was about to start!
%Gallery-133057%The village parade consisted mainly of a marching band and a large statue of the village’s patron saint, Our Lady of Victories, carried by a team of local men, many who had been enjoying a few Cisk beers. The make up of the band’s members was motley but memorable, including a tiny man carrying a drum that nearly dwarfed him, a boy barely in his teens playing among musicians decades older, a pretty young woman in high wedge heels. The band started out in the square, playing various Gozitan and Maltese anthems, before moving down the main road under a rain of confetti. We followed the band along the street until we were stopped in a bottleneck in front of Our Lady of Victories. You do NOT want to get in front of Our Lady, lest you want to be scolded by the man in charge of her and her (increasingly drunken) handlers. We moved aside and let the band continue down the street, leaving a thick carpet of confetti. Every child in town came out to gather bunches of confetti, build forts in it, and throw it at their friends.
As the crowd began to disperse, we stopped at a snack bar where they played a recording of the songs we had just heard, in search of a nightcap. Even a dozen years of living in New York with its legendary parades couldn’t compare to the fun we had at a small Gozitan feast, and this was just a warm up celebration! In New York, you wouldn’t see a child rolling around making confetti angels. In New York, you can’t touch the floats. In New York, you couldn’t buy a magnum of good local wine after hours and be told apologetically that it would cost 4 euro. But in Gozo, a family of Russian/American New York City expats from Istanbul could feel dazzled by a small village feast.